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Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The Incredible But Surreptitious Conviction Of James Evans Summarized

When a Madison County Illinois Magistrate slammed his gavel down upon his sentencing of James Evans to the Illinois Division of Corrections for 107 years, after he was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, many believed that Evans would be put away for the duration of his natural life. While many within the community who didn’t have direct knowledge of the intricate details of those cases were resolved in believing the state’s case, and felt that justice had been served. However, justice in Madison County may not necessarily be meted out in the traditional manner when defendants of color are involved.

The State’s case against Evans and others clearly demonstrates that justice should be studied and scrutinized very carefully (especially in Madison County Illinois). Black defendants facing all white juries is common place in a volume of municipalities across America, whether jury pool manipulation is implemented, or insufficient availability of jurors from diverse ethnic backgrounds is the cause, facing all white juries as a colored person is highly probable in a volume of court cases across this country. This dynamic coupled with a perceived general mindset within certain demographics that a black person is perceived guilty long before the ink even dries on their charging documents, and can easily be supported by the number of cases that result in reversals years later after black defendants served decades in prison.

Unfortunately in most criminal cases, the evidence isn’t the only factor involved in how juries arrive at their verdicts. Its the believability of each sides case that’s present during trial in front of the jury. Evans case is prima facia in regards to that argument. as Evans was charged with killing Nekemar Pearson on June 24, 1995 in the town of Alton Illinois. Court documents reveal that Evans who was allegedly a drug dealer, killed Pearson in retaliation for a home invasion at Evans home where he was tied up, tortured, sodomized with a broom handle, and had his vehicle stolen. All in an effort to rob Evans of money suspected to be from drug solicitation proceeds. Pearson, a man name Marcus Holloway, and others carried out the caper unsuccessfully, and didn’t find any money at all. Expensive speakers were removed from Evans vehicle and sold at a local car business.

The speakers were so rare during that time, the shop owners knew exactly who they belonged too. Word got around that Pearson was the individual who sold the speakers, and revealed his potential involvement in the home invasion robbery. Although Evans reported the incident to police no one was ever charged with the crime. Suspiciously though, court records demonstrate that Holloway was interviewed by police, admitted his involvement, the identity of others involved in the robbery, and some how was allowed to walk free out of the police station on the same day he gave cops his statement without being charged with a crime at all. Holloway’s statement to police establishes a potential motive as to why Evans may have wanted to kill Pearson, but while that may sound good to an all white jury, there were a volume of other moving parts in the case that were either suppressed, ignored, or flat out overlooked by jurors at Evans trial.

When viewing the trial transcript its easy to decipher that the state used an information overload style tactic, which may have overwhelmed the jury and prohibited proper analysis of crucial elements of the case. The state presented no evidence at all that directly linked Evans to the murder case forensically. Prosecutors marched hearsay witnesses in the court room one by one to make their case against Evans, a highly circumstantial case at that, from the gate. One by one they gave their testimonies that on the surface appear to directly implicate Evans in the Pearson murder. Some who were in the court room during the trial say that every state witness was ushered into the court room in shackles. Each of them were facing criminal charges of their own and had been transported to the trial from area jails or prisons. Immediately, the state should have faced credibility issues pertaining to their case against Evans, but the jury apparently believed in the states case despite the totality of their evidence against Evans having come from known criminals.

Their case against Evans was obviously problematic from the very start, as highly exculpatory evidence was suppressed from the jury and Evans defense (I’ll delve into that more later in this article). Long after Evans had been convicted, sentenced, and was serving time, new evidence emerged that highlights the highly problematic testimony of two state witness (Demond Spruill and Clifton Wheeler). Spruill’s testimony became highly suspicious when an Appeals Court Judge reversed the unrelated murder conviction of a man name Jeremy Brown. The authorities had wired Spruill for a jailhouse conversation with Brown and utilized the recordings as evidence to convince a jury of his guilt. On appeal the judge admonished state prosecutors after discovering that Spruill had been utilized by the state in at least 8 other murder cases. The Appeals court ruled that the state’s recycled use of Spruill, while allowing him a get out of jail free card from his own criminal charges, essentially gave Spruill a license to commit crimes while acting as an agent for the state.

Spruil was convicted in 1997 of armed robbery and sentenced to 8 years, but was arrested on the streets of Alton in possession of a gun again in 1999. Court records reveal that Spruill testified in Evans case while also claiming that Evans had confessed killing Pearson to him, and while Spruill in fact received leniency for his 1999 weapons charge for his cooperation in testifying against Evans. The jury in Evans trial never heard about Spruill’s constant use as a jailhouse informant nor his plea deal, thereby prejudicing the jury in accepting Spruill’s testimony on its face as fact, which violates Evans right to a fair trial under the law (grounds for a new trial).

Depending on which story you believe, the state never consistently established exactly how Evans allegedly killed Pearson. In one version of the killing, Evans is teamed with Clifton Wheeler and Brian Warr in the Nekemar Pearson murder. Wheeler was also on the hook for seperate murder charges of his own when he testified against James Evans. Wheeler is believed to have killed a man name Dwight Riddlespriger, but brokered a deal with prosecutors for naming Evans as the triggerman in Pearson’s killing. Wheeler essentially pled guilty for two murders in exchange for a 23 year sentence but the judge in that case gave him day for day (meaning a day off his sentence for every good day of time served). People interviewed in Alton say Wheeler was headed to prison any way, and may have falsely implicated himself in the Pearson murder to help the state convict Evans, a roll of the proverbial plea arrangement dice that worked out marvelously for Wheeler, who is walking the streets of Alton this very day after only serving 12 years in prison.

Wheelers testimony fingers Evans as the alleged shooter in the Pearson killing, places himself at the crime seen as an eyewitness, and again appears to provide extremely damaging testimony for the state against Evans defense. Not so fast though, as we must look even closer into Wheeler’s testimony at Evans trial. Like other state witnesses who testified against Evans, We must be mindful that Wheeler was transported to the trial of James Evans in shackles also. His plea agreement sentencing hearing had already taken place, and was contingent on his participation as a witness for the state against Evans. Under direct testimony by state prosecutor Keith Jensen, Wheeler was asked if he had received anything in exchange for his testimony at Evans trial. Wheeler responded “no” while under oath. Court documents from Wheelers sentencing hearing establishes as a matter of fact that Wheeler perjured himself on the witness stand at Evans trial. Moreover, state prosecutor Keith Jensen represented the state in the prosecution of Wheeler and knew as a matter of fact and law, that Wheeler had received leniency ln his own criminal prosecution for his testimony against Evans (a violation of the law). If Wheeler was in fact an eyewitness to Pearson’s murder by James Evans, then why did the state go to such lengths, knowingly violating the law to conceal Clifton Wheeler’s plea deal?

There were other state witnesses who benefitted from the benevolence of the prosecutor’s office before and after Evans indictment and subsequent convictions. For instance, there is a man name Larry Greer (a known drug addict) who was essentially paid for his grand jury testimony at the Evans indictment hearing. Greer was able to broker a deal that not only allowed him to elude personal criminal charges of his own, but also convinced law enforcement officials to give him back his $1500 dollar bail money. Later on Greer became embroiled in the justice system again facing criminal charges, and had agreed to testify against Evans in exchange for leniency in yet another criminal case of his own. Only this time Greer backed out on the deal. According to court documents and a sworn affidavit from Larry Greer himself, he refused to testify against Evans after learning that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in Evans cases. Larry Greer was subsequently convicted of murder based on a convoluted murder for hire plot, and conspiracy that was cooked up by dirty cops and fed to a jury related to the Brian Warr killing, despite the fact that Greer actually drove Brian Warr to the hospital after he had been shot by another man.

Then there was the testimony of Tommy Rounds (James Evans Cousin), who like Demond Spruil was a known jailhouse rat, who routinely testified for the state in exchange for leniency in his own criminal struggles. Rounds wore a wiretap for prosecutors during conversations with Evans in jail while he was awaiting trial for pending prosecution for the Pearson killing. Those recordings have been a major stake hold in Evans appeal because he has always contended that the recordings were doctored (multiple conversations edited to appear as one conversation), establishing what Evans claims is in fact the manufacturing of evidence in his conspiracy to commit murder case. Evans claim is a bolstering allegation that directly attacks the integrity of the Madison County Sheriffs and the state prosecutors offices. I’ve personally read some of the transcripts from some of those recordings, and they appear to be filled with the white noise effect (vast majority of recording is inaudible) and doesn’t represent a coherent conversation related to any subject matter at all, let alone a conspiracy to commit murder plot.

Even though those recordings from Rounds wiretap remain a constant area of trouble for the state, many continue to argue that the fact Evans own Cousin testified against him is simply incredulous, and goes a long way of establishing his potential guilt. In reality though, Rounds is reportedly an alleged two bit petty criminal who can’t do his on bid in prison for his crimes, and some have told TPC that he would lie on his own mother to get out of his brushes with the law (Rounds was even accused of burglarizing his mother and sister’s homes). Furthermore, those recordings from Rounds jailhouse wiretap have mysteriously disappeared. Evans has requested copies of those recordings for the purpose of forensic analysis to establish their authenticity, and has even compelled the courts in Madison County to issue 4 separate court orders directing state officials to release copies of that discovery to Evans, but the state has never complied with either of those orders.

Compounding Evans appeal related to those recordings is the fact that his own attorney from the Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, law firm have even tried to convince Evans to dummy down his manufacturing of evidence claims in his appeal, and take a plea of time served, but when he refused to do that, his own attorney abandoned him and his case was even taken off the court docket for nearly three years, a factor in his appeal that has never been properly explained. Its simply a glaring red flag in his case that may explain an enormous inordinate delay in Evans appellate process. Just as in most convictions cases, Evans lost his initial direct appeal which is usually the original trial court. and In his case that’s Madison County. Although the state of Illinois has long established that the post conviction process should take just a little more than a year to conclude, Evans remains in post conviction for over 18 years (unheard of as far as appellate case standards run). All that’s required to move forward is for Madison County to approve or deny his appeal. Assuming his case is denied, Evans would then be allowed to pray before a higher court. The only problem is Evans can’t get through post conviction because Madison County refuses to remedy or adjudicate Evans claims of manufactured evidence in his case (those jailhouse recordings played at his trial).

While the enormous inordinate delay in Evans appeal is a procedural error by the courts, its further complicated by the state’s failure to comply with a volume of court orders related to trial discovery with impunity, and in actuality bolsters Evans claims of foul play related to the evidence presented against him during his conspiracy to commit murder trial.

However, the icing on the cake really isn’t just those trial recordings and the state’s failure to produce them. The state has even bigger fish to fry in terms of damage control in what in fact just maybe a malicious prosecution of an innocent man by dirty cops and a corrupt prosecutors office. Some years after Evans had already began serving his 107 year prison term, he received a communication from an Appellate Defender, who provided him with a police report composed by an Alton Illinois School Resource Police Officer name Detective Cooley. Cooley had various brushes with Nekemar Pearson whom Evans was convicted of murdering. Cooley probably is best qualified to identify Pearson due to having arrested him on several occasions. The school cop was more than likely familiar with missing person reports related to Pearson’s disappearance, took the initiative to file a police report after spotting Pearson walking down a street in Alton, and interestingly some 9 days after the day in which state prosecutors claimed Evans had killed him.

Evans had allegedly never seen the report or even heard about it and court records show that others working on his defense also say they never were made aware of such discovery. More importantly though, Evans trial jury was never made aware of this discovery either. This piece of information brought to Evans attention years after his conviction is not only new evidence which establishes at minimum, grounds for a new trial, but the document could even completely eviscerate the state’s entire case against Evans. The attorney’s communication to Evans related to Detective Cooley’s police report is such a crucial piece of discovery that its highly probable and reasonable to assume that at least one juror could have ruled in favor of acquitting Evans, based on the fact that a police report, which is usually deemed credible, establishes that Pearson was seen alive after the day that state prosecutors claimed that Evans killed him.

According to the Appellate Defender who alerted Evans regarding the police report by Detective Cooley, he had discovered the document in the case files of Larry Greer, the same man that authorities essentially paid to testify at Evans grand jury hearing. The report’s very existence establishes that prosecutors were well aware of Cooley’s claim of having seen Pearson alive after he was suppose to have been killed. This point related to discovery in Evans case which the prosecutors office is required to turn over to Evans defense, prove that sufficient evidence existed that establishes Evans indictment for murder was obtained through paid witness testimony, and with knowledge by prosecutors that Pearson very well may have still been alive (a serious crime that makes a mockery of the Illinois state courts and our justice system. and completely destroying the life of James Evans and his family). Then there are also reports and witness accounts that claim Pearson (who was on home monitor pending criminal charges for the murder of a man name Willie Nichols), had allegedly been pursued on foot and shot at by members of Nichols’ family on the one year anniversary of Nichols’ death. Some how that information was never allowed into the Evans trial. Pearson’s actual killer(s) may even still be at large within the Alton community.

The case against James Evans when viewed from an objective posture with all evidence and other information now available after his conviction, should at least raise eyebrows of court officials who act as an oversight of lower criminal courts, and demonstrate how prosecutors surreptitiously achieved having an all white jury find Evans guilty of the crimes for which he was charged and subsequently sent to the slammer for over a century. His case should also be a mirror into how our justice system is broken. State prosecutors even knowingly broke the law to obtain Evans conviction. Although it’s a stretch considering how powerful of a piece of discovery Detective Cooley’s police report is related to the Evans murder case, prosecutors may attempt to explain away the report’s existence and failure to be turned over to the defense as a mere oversight, but they will never be able to explain away paying a witness for his testimony during an indictment hearing:

  1. There is clear evidence that state prosecutors may have suppressed highly exculpatory evidence in Evans case.
  2. Prosecutors made backdoor deals with just about every witness it produced against Evans in a highly circumstantial case.
  3. Prosecutors utilized the testimony of Desmond Spruill who a higher court found extremely problematic in unrelated cases as a witness for the state, when the court reversed an unrelated murder conviction of another man when it learned that Spruil had incredibly testified for the state in 8 different murder cases, where Spruill claimed that each of those respective defendants had allegedly confessed to him.
  4. The state even made deals with violent criminals in exchange for testimony during Evans trial, which allowed these criminals to get out of jail to commit even more serious violent crimes (one of those witnesses was charged with allegedly brutalizing and raping an elderly woman after state prosecutors set him free for helping them convict Evans)

There are also other glaring problems with Evans convictions but these are just a few that stand out after having been discovered in the case files of other defendants, or were arrogantly revealed by prosecutors during court proceedings of other defendants. The volume of missteps by prosecutors that were made in the Evans trials reach farther than mere prosecutorial misconduct, that the overt callousness of state prosecutor’s actions, demonstrate that such violations of the law and rights of criminal defendants could be deemed as an acceptable cultural practice that permeates the Madison County courts. Many of these facts now revealed regarding the state prosecution of James Evans, juxtapose to the Madison County courts extreme inordinate delay of his appellate process, which weighs heavily of trial discovery tapes, creates a burdensome dilemma for Madison County that a higher court may easily reverse based on basic constitutional grounds.

Evans 18 year post conviction process is not only unfair and extraordinary, but essentially could be construed as him in fact being held as a political prisoner in Madison County Illinois, as many responsible in securing Evans conviction have moved up the ladder in their respective careers, have established allies with the courts, and in many respects are political figures within the Illinois state justice system. Essentially no one wants to revisit the extremely problematic and highly circumstantial case of James Evans, not even his own paid attorneys. Keeping that proverbial can of worms shut is probably a sticking priority for quite a few people involved in his case, and trampling over the rights of a convict the likes of a black man name James Evans maybe in their minds, simply collateral damage that’s worth extinguishing the facts that reveal exactly how Madison County meted out his demise.

I believe it was my college classmate, retired ATF Administrator, and CNN Analysis Matthew Wayne Horace who advised me that while Evans case appears tragic, its not an anomaly, as he describes police culture in intricate detail in his book “The Black And The Blue,” one of the most powerful indictments ever published of American policing by a former cop. Any police agency or prosecutors office within our entire country must never be allowed to surreptitiously break the law, fail to abide by establish court proceedings, trample the constitutional rights of criminal defendants no matter how contentious their belief is in his guilt, suppress evidence that potentially point to the defendant’s innocence, and then label it as American justice. At the very least, indisputable evidence exist that proves Evans didn’t receive a fail trial under the law, and after being imprisoned for over 20 years. all that’s required is for just one duty bound official to do the right thing in the name of American justice. For this belief, we must continuously pray before the courts.

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I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David B Adams

David Adams

A Self proclaimed geek, Sympathizer for the homeless, Social Change Advocate, Crime Blogger, Promoter of Awareness for Missing and Exploited Children, and a mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

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When a Madison County Illinois Magistrate slammed his gavel down upon his sentencing of James Evans to the Illinois Division of Corrections for 107 years, after he was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, many believed that Evans would be put away for the duration of his natural life. While many within the community who didn’t have direct knowledge of the intricate details of those cases were resolved in believing the state’s case, and felt that justice had been served. However, justice in Madison County may not necessarily be meted out in the traditional manner when defendants of color are involved.

The State’s case against Evans and others clearly demonstrates that justice should be studied and scrutinized very carefully (especially in Madison County Illinois). Black defendants facing all white juries is common place in a volume of municipalities across America, whether jury pool manipulation is implemented, or insufficient availability of jurors from diverse ethnic backgrounds is the cause, facing all white juries as a colored person is highly probable in a volume of court cases across this country. This dynamic coupled with a perceived general mindset within certain demographics that a black person is perceived guilty long before the ink even dries on their charging documents, and can easily be supported by the number of cases that result in reversals years later after black defendants served decades in prison.

Unfortunately in most criminal cases, the evidence isn’t the only factor involved in how juries arrive at their verdicts. Its the believability of each sides case that’s present during trial in front of the jury. Evans case is prima facia in regards to that argument. as Evans was charged with killing Nekemar Pearson on June 24, 1995 in the town of Alton Illinois. Court documents reveal that Evans who was allegedly a drug dealer, killed Pearson in retaliation for a home invasion at Evans home where he was tied up, tortured, sodomized with a broom handle, and had his vehicle stolen. All in an effort to rob Evans of money suspected to be from drug solicitation proceeds. Pearson, a man name Marcus Holloway, and others carried out the caper unsuccessfully, and didn’t find any money at all. Expensive speakers were removed from Evans vehicle and sold at a local car business.

The speakers were so rare during that time, the shop owners knew exactly who they belonged too. Word got around that Pearson was the individual who sold the speakers, and revealed his potential involvement in the home invasion robbery. Although Evans reported the incident to police no one was ever charged with the crime. Suspiciously though, court records demonstrate that Holloway was interviewed by police, admitted his involvement, the identity of others involved in the robbery, and some how was allowed to walk free out of the police station on the same day he gave cops his statement without being charged with a crime at all. Holloway’s statement to police establishes a potential motive as to why Evans may have wanted to kill Pearson, but while that may sound good to an all white jury, there were a volume of other moving parts in the case that were either suppressed, ignored, or flat out overlooked by jurors at Evans trial.

When viewing the trial transcript its easy to decipher that the state used an information overload style tactic, which may have overwhelmed the jury and prohibited proper analysis of crucial elements of the case. The state presented no evidence at all that directly linked Evans to the murder case forensically. Prosecutors marched hearsay witnesses in the court room one by one to make their case against Evans, a highly circumstantial case at that, from the gate. One by one they gave their testimonies that on the surface appear to directly implicate Evans in the Pearson murder. Some who were in the court room during the trial say that every state witness was ushered into the court room in shackles. Each of them were facing criminal charges of their own and had been transported to the trial from area jails or prisons. Immediately, the state should have faced credibility issues pertaining to their case against Evans, but the jury apparently believed in the states case despite the totality of their evidence against Evans having come from known criminals.

Their case against Evans was obviously problematic from the very start, as highly exculpatory evidence was suppressed from the jury and Evans defense (I’ll delve into that more later in this article). Long after Evans had been convicted, sentenced, and was serving time, new evidence emerged that highlights the highly problematic testimony of two state witness (Demond Spruill and Clifton Wheeler). Spruill’s testimony became highly suspicious when an Appeals Court Judge reversed the unrelated murder conviction of a man name Jeremy Brown. The authorities had wired Spruill for a jailhouse conversation with Brown and utilized the recordings as evidence to convince a jury of his guilt. On appeal the judge admonished state prosecutors after discovering that Spruill had been utilized by the state in at least 8 other murder cases. The Appeals court ruled that the state’s recycled use of Spruill, while allowing him a get out of jail free card from his own criminal charges, essentially gave Spruill a license to commit crimes while acting as an agent for the state.

Spruil was convicted in 1997 of armed robbery and sentenced to 8 years, but was arrested on the streets of Alton in possession of a gun again in 1999. Court records reveal that Spruill testified in Evans case while also claiming that Evans had confessed killing Pearson to him, and while Spruill in fact received leniency for his 1999 weapons charge for his cooperation in testifying against Evans. The jury in Evans trial never heard about Spruill’s constant use as a jailhouse informant nor his plea deal, thereby prejudicing the jury in accepting Spruill’s testimony on its face as fact, which violates Evans right to a fair trial under the law (grounds for a new trial).

Depending on which story you believe, the state never consistently established exactly how Evans allegedly killed Pearson. In one version of the killing, Evans is teamed with Clifton Wheeler and Brian Warr in the Nekemar Pearson murder. Wheeler was also on the hook for seperate murder charges of his own when he testified against James Evans. Wheeler is believed to have killed a man name Dwight Riddlespriger, but brokered a deal with prosecutors for naming Evans as the triggerman in Pearson’s killing. Wheeler essentially pled guilty for two murders in exchange for a 23 year sentence but the judge in that case gave him day for day (meaning a day off his sentence for every good day of time served). People interviewed in Alton say Wheeler was headed to prison any way, and may have falsely implicated himself in the Pearson murder to help the state convict Evans, a roll of the proverbial plea arrangement dice that worked out marvelously for Wheeler, who is walking the streets of Alton this very day after only serving 12 years in prison.

Wheelers testimony fingers Evans as the alleged shooter in the Pearson killing, places himself at the crime seen as an eyewitness, and again appears to provide extremely damaging testimony for the state against Evans defense. Not so fast though, as we must look even closer into Wheeler’s testimony at Evans trial. Like other state witnesses who testified against Evans, We must be mindful that Wheeler was transported to the trial of James Evans in shackles also. His plea agreement sentencing hearing had already taken place, and was contingent on his participation as a witness for the state against Evans. Under direct testimony by state prosecutor Keith Jensen, Wheeler was asked if he had received anything in exchange for his testimony at Evans trial. Wheeler responded “no” while under oath. Court documents from Wheelers sentencing hearing establishes as a matter of fact that Wheeler perjured himself on the witness stand at Evans trial. Moreover, state prosecutor Keith Jensen represented the state in the prosecution of Wheeler and knew as a matter of fact and law, that Wheeler had received leniency ln his own criminal prosecution for his testimony against Evans (a violation of the law). If Wheeler was in fact an eyewitness to Pearson’s murder by James Evans, then why did the state go to such lengths, knowingly violating the law to conceal Clifton Wheeler’s plea deal?

There were other state witnesses who benefitted from the benevolence of the prosecutor’s office before and after Evans indictment and subsequent convictions. For instance, there is a man name Larry Greer (a known drug addict) who was essentially paid for his grand jury testimony at the Evans indictment hearing. Greer was able to broker a deal that not only allowed him to elude personal criminal charges of his own, but also convinced law enforcement officials to give him back his $1500 dollar bail money. Later on Greer became embroiled in the justice system again facing criminal charges, and had agreed to testify against Evans in exchange for leniency in yet another criminal case of his own. Only this time Greer backed out on the deal. According to court documents and a sworn affidavit from Larry Greer himself, he refused to testify against Evans after learning that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in Evans cases. Larry Greer was subsequently convicted of murder based on a convoluted murder for hire plot, and conspiracy that was cooked up by dirty cops and fed to a jury related to the Brian Warr killing, despite the fact that Greer actually drove Brian Warr to the hospital after he had been shot by another man.

Then there was the testimony of Tommy Rounds (James Evans Cousin), who like Demond Spruil was a known jailhouse rat, who routinely testified for the state in exchange for leniency in his own criminal struggles. Rounds wore a wiretap for prosecutors during conversations with Evans in jail while he was awaiting trial for pending prosecution for the Pearson killing. Those recordings have been a major stake hold in Evans appeal because he has always contended that the recordings were doctored (multiple conversations edited to appear as one conversation), establishing what Evans claims is in fact the manufacturing of evidence in his conspiracy to commit murder case. Evans claim is a bolstering allegation that directly attacks the integrity of the Madison County Sheriffs and the state prosecutors offices. I’ve personally read some of the transcripts from some of those recordings, and they appear to be filled with the white noise effect (vast majority of recording is inaudible) and doesn’t represent a coherent conversation related to any subject matter at all, let alone a conspiracy to commit murder plot.

Even though those recordings from Rounds wiretap remain a constant area of trouble for the state, many continue to argue that the fact Evans own Cousin testified against him is simply incredulous, and goes a long way of establishing his potential guilt. In reality though, Rounds is reportedly an alleged two bit petty criminal who can’t do his on bid in prison for his crimes, and some have told TPC that he would lie on his own mother to get out of his brushes with the law (Rounds was even accused of burglarizing his mother and sister’s homes). Furthermore, those recordings from Rounds jailhouse wiretap have mysteriously disappeared. Evans has requested copies of those recordings for the purpose of forensic analysis to establish their authenticity, and has even compelled the courts in Madison County to issue 4 separate court orders directing state officials to release copies of that discovery to Evans, but the state has never complied with either of those orders.

Compounding Evans appeal related to those recordings is the fact that his own attorney from the Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, law firm have even tried to convince Evans to dummy down his manufacturing of evidence claims in his appeal, and take a plea of time served, but when he refused to do that, his own attorney abandoned him and his case was even taken off the court docket for nearly three years, a factor in his appeal that has never been properly explained. Its simply a glaring red flag in his case that may explain an enormous inordinate delay in Evans appellate process. Just as in most convictions cases, Evans lost his initial direct appeal which is usually the original trial court. and In his case that’s Madison County. Although the state of Illinois has long established that the post conviction process should take just a little more than a year to conclude, Evans remains in post conviction for over 18 years (unheard of as far as appellate case standards run). All that’s required to move forward is for Madison County to approve or deny his appeal. Assuming his case is denied, Evans would then be allowed to pray before a higher court. The only problem is Evans can’t get through post conviction because Madison County refuses to remedy or adjudicate Evans claims of manufactured evidence in his case (those jailhouse recordings played at his trial).

While the enormous inordinate delay in Evans appeal is a procedural error by the courts, its further complicated by the state’s failure to comply with a volume of court orders related to trial discovery with impunity, and in actuality bolsters Evans claims of foul play related to the evidence presented against him during his conspiracy to commit murder trial.

However, the icing on the cake really isn’t just those trial recordings and the state’s failure to produce them. The state has even bigger fish to fry in terms of damage control in what in fact just maybe a malicious prosecution of an innocent man by dirty cops and a corrupt prosecutors office. Some years after Evans had already began serving his 107 year prison term, he received a communication from an Appellate Defender, who provided him with a police report composed by an Alton Illinois School Resource Police Officer name Detective Cooley. Cooley had various brushes with Nekemar Pearson whom Evans was convicted of murdering. Cooley probably is best qualified to identify Pearson due to having arrested him on several occasions. The school cop was more than likely familiar with missing person reports related to Pearson’s disappearance, took the initiative to file a police report after spotting Pearson walking down a street in Alton, and interestingly some 9 days after the day in which state prosecutors claimed Evans had killed him.

Evans had allegedly never seen the report or even heard about it and court records show that others working on his defense also say they never were made aware of such discovery. More importantly though, Evans trial jury was never made aware of this discovery either. This piece of information brought to Evans attention years after his conviction is not only new evidence which establishes at minimum, grounds for a new trial, but the document could even completely eviscerate the state’s entire case against Evans. The attorney’s communication to Evans related to Detective Cooley’s police report is such a crucial piece of discovery that its highly probable and reasonable to assume that at least one juror could have ruled in favor of acquitting Evans, based on the fact that a police report, which is usually deemed credible, establishes that Pearson was seen alive after the day that state prosecutors claimed that Evans killed him.

According to the Appellate Defender who alerted Evans regarding the police report by Detective Cooley, he had discovered the document in the case files of Larry Greer, the same man that authorities essentially paid to testify at Evans grand jury hearing. The report’s very existence establishes that prosecutors were well aware of Cooley’s claim of having seen Pearson alive after he was suppose to have been killed. This point related to discovery in Evans case which the prosecutors office is required to turn over to Evans defense, prove that sufficient evidence existed that establishes Evans indictment for murder was obtained through paid witness testimony, and with knowledge by prosecutors that Pearson very well may have still been alive (a serious crime that makes a mockery of the Illinois state courts and our justice system. and completely destroying the life of James Evans and his family). Then there are also reports and witness accounts that claim Pearson (who was on home monitor pending criminal charges for the murder of a man name Willie Nichols), had allegedly been pursued on foot and shot at by members of Nichols’ family on the one year anniversary of Nichols’ death. Some how that information was never allowed into the Evans trial. Pearson’s actual killer(s) may even still be at large within the Alton community.

The case against James Evans when viewed from an objective posture with all evidence and other information now available after his conviction, should at least raise eyebrows of court officials who act as an oversight of lower criminal courts, and demonstrate how prosecutors surreptitiously achieved having an all white jury find Evans guilty of the crimes for which he was charged and subsequently sent to the slammer for over a century. His case should also be a mirror into how our justice system is broken. State prosecutors even knowingly broke the law to obtain Evans conviction. Although it’s a stretch considering how powerful of a piece of discovery Detective Cooley’s police report is related to the Evans murder case, prosecutors may attempt to explain away the report’s existence and failure to be turned over to the defense as a mere oversight, but they will never be able to explain away paying a witness for his testimony during an indictment hearing:

  1. There is clear evidence that state prosecutors may have suppressed highly exculpatory evidence in Evans case.
  2. Prosecutors made backdoor deals with just about every witness it produced against Evans in a highly circumstantial case.
  3. Prosecutors utilized the testimony of Desmond Spruill who a higher court found extremely problematic in unrelated cases as a witness for the state, when the court reversed an unrelated murder conviction of another man when it learned that Spruil had incredibly testified for the state in 8 different murder cases, where Spruill claimed that each of those respective defendants had allegedly confessed to him.
  4. The state even made deals with violent criminals in exchange for testimony during Evans trial, which allowed these criminals to get out of jail to commit even more serious violent crimes (one of those witnesses was charged with allegedly brutalizing and raping an elderly woman after state prosecutors set him free for helping them convict Evans)

There are also other glaring problems with Evans convictions but these are just a few that stand out after having been discovered in the case files of other defendants, or were arrogantly revealed by prosecutors during court proceedings of other defendants. The volume of missteps by prosecutors that were made in the Evans trials reach farther than mere prosecutorial misconduct, that the overt callousness of state prosecutor’s actions, demonstrate that such violations of the law and rights of criminal defendants could be deemed as an acceptable cultural practice that permeates the Madison County courts. Many of these facts now revealed regarding the state prosecution of James Evans, juxtapose to the Madison County courts extreme inordinate delay of his appellate process, which weighs heavily of trial discovery tapes, creates a burdensome dilemma for Madison County that a higher court may easily reverse based on basic constitutional grounds.

Evans 18 year post conviction process is not only unfair and extraordinary, but essentially could be construed as him in fact being held as a political prisoner in Madison County Illinois, as many responsible in securing Evans conviction have moved up the ladder in their respective careers, have established allies with the courts, and in many respects are political figures within the Illinois state justice system. Essentially no one wants to revisit the extremely problematic and highly circumstantial case of James Evans, not even his own paid attorneys. Keeping that proverbial can of worms shut is probably a sticking priority for quite a few people involved in his case, and trampling over the rights of a convict the likes of a black man name James Evans maybe in their minds, simply collateral damage that’s worth extinguishing the facts that reveal exactly how Madison County meted out his demise.

I believe it was my college classmate, retired ATF Administrator, and CNN Analysis Matthew Wayne Horace who advised me that while Evans case appears tragic, its not an anomaly, as he describes police culture in intricate detail in his book “The Black And The Blue,” one of the most powerful indictments ever published of American policing by a former cop. Any police agency or prosecutors office within our entire country must never be allowed to surreptitiously break the law, fail to abide by establish court proceedings, trample the constitutional rights of criminal defendants no matter how contentious their belief is in his guilt, suppress evidence that potentially point to the defendant’s innocence, and then label it as American justice. At the very least, indisputable evidence exist that proves Evans didn’t receive a fail trial under the law, and after being imprisoned for over 20 years. all that’s required is for just one duty bound official to do the right thing in the name of American justice. For this belief, we must continuously pray before the courts.

The People’s Champion Blog

I’m Journalist and Crime Blogger David B Adams

David Adams

A Self proclaimed geek, Sympathizer for the homeless, Social Change Advocate, Crime Blogger, Promoter of Awareness for Missing and Exploited Children, and a mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

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